Category Archives: Events

Save the date for 2020 Gillett Griffin Memorial speaker

Congratulations to Kevin Barry, whose latest novel Night Boat to Tangier was named one of the 10 best books of 2019 by the New York Times. Listen to Barry on their podcast:

Save the date:
On Thursday, 2 April 2020, Barry has kindly agreed to be the fourth Gillett Griffin Memorial speaker at Princeton University, co-sponsored by our wonderful Fund for Irish Studies. The free event will be held at 4:30 p.m. in the Lewis Center for the Arts’ James M. Stewart ’32 Theater located at 185 Nassau Street.

Publishers Weekly reviewed Night Boat to Tangier, noting:

A pair of Irish drug runners who’ve seen better days haunt a ferry terminal in southern Spain in search of a missing woman, in Barry’s grim and crackling latest (after Beatlebone). Maurice Hearne and Charlie Redmond had a long and profitable run in drug smuggling, but now, with both just past 50, they are out of the business after a decline in their fortunes. The two stalk the ferry terminal in search of Maurice’s daughter, Dilly, whom they haven’t seen for three years but believe will be showing up on a ferry there, either coming from or going to Tangier. As the men wait and scan the crowds, they reminisce on better days and an unfortunately textbook betrayal, and flashbacks to pivotal moments in Maurice’s adult life reveal a torturous history. Whether Dilly is actually Maurice’s daughter is an animating question of the narrative, along with what the men’s true intentions are. Barry is a writer of the first rate, and his prose is at turns lean and lyrical, but always precise. Though some scenes land as stiff and schematic, the characters’ banter is wildly and inventively coarse, and something to behold. As far as bleak Irish fiction goes, this is black tar heroin.

Writing for the Brooklyn Rail, Weston Cutter called Barry, “the only author I know of (currently working) whose work equally inspires and inundates any aspirant with dread. His latest novel, Night Boat to Tangier (2019) is undoubtedly his best novel yet, and, I’d argue, his strongest fiction, period—which is saying something, given that Kevin Barry’s one of the best short story writers alive.”–

We are longtime fans of the author. Barry visited Princeton in 2017 to read from his novel, Beatlebone and in 2013, he read from his short story collection, Dark Lies the Island, which has recently been translated to film, (hopefully) coming to US theaters soon.

Forms of the Book in the East


Martin Heijdra, Director of the East Asian Library at Princeton University, welcomed members of the IAS/Princeton workshop “Formats of the Book in East Asia and Environs” to Firestone Library and the Institute for Advanced Studies this week.

Below is the complete list of treasures Martin pulled for the group, beginning with two rare facsimiles of the Bamboo and wooden slips (Chinese: 简牍; pinyin: jiǎndú) used in China before paper. Also included were spectacular examples of book formats from South East Asia and regions beyond China.

The overall aims of the project are listed as:
The Book and the Silk Roads: Phase I” is a 2-year Mellon Foundation-funded project of the University of Toronto’s Old Books, New Science lab. The grant’s purpose is to challenge the triumphalist Western narrative of book history as a path of steps leading from the Christian codex to the Gutenberg press to the digital age. Instead, we seek to build and support a network consisting of scholars, curators, conservators, and scientists exploring significant developments in book technologies within a range of contexts, focusing particularly on occasions of cultural interchange or entanglement in the premodern world.

Amanda Goodman’s work on ephemeral documents from the Dunhuang cache has deeply inspired us, and we hope to build further points of connection with the community of Dunhuang researchers in the Princeton area. What stories can be told by exploring the varied formats and structures of the text-objects from the cache in Mogao’s Cave 17, or the recycled examination papers used as burial shoes in Turfan, now housed in Princeton’s East Asian Library collection? …

Although most of us are not part of this distinguished group, we can still appreciate the marvelous books and manuscripts being studied. Here are just a few images without commentary.

Note the corrections added to this manuscript by the author.

Cultures of the Book

A few fortunate scholars, historians, and collectors are meeting this week in Pescara, Italy, birthplace of the Italian poet Gabriele D’Annunzio, Prince of Montenevoso, Duke of Gallese (1863-1938). Today alone we enjoyed 18 presentations on such diverse topics as the 1491 Kalendrier des bergiers; the digitization of the Baskerville punches; publishing under Franco’s dictatorship; publishing within the cultural revolutions in the Arab-Muslim world; and falconry in Jincheng Yinglun China.

Historic map of the area.


We were introduced to a number of significant individuals we should have already been familiar, such as Donella Meadows and her Limits to Growth. [one of many videos online above]

Another is the Indian inventor Shankar Abaji Bhisey ( and his Bhisotype [left], along with dozens of other mostly unrealized inventions.

“In 1920, Bhise started the Bhise Ideal Type Casting Corporation in New York to develop and market the type-casting and lead rule-casting machines. He spent over 80,000 dollars on this venture. His efforts were not in vain. Mr W. Ackennan of the Linotype Company of America had this to say about Bhise. He said, ‘He (Bhise) has now solved a problem which had been the dream of type-machine inventors for many years.'” –Achievements in Anonymity, Unsung Indian Scientist, edited by Kollegala Sharnia and Bal Phondke.


Another whole day to come and another dozen presentations. Thanks in particular to the Centre for Printing History and Culture, University of Birmingham/Birmingham City University and the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, University of Chieti-Pescara.




People heading to work drive through the Sepulveda pass on the 405 freeway as the hills burn from wind driven wildfire near the Getty Center Monday. Brentwood CA. Oct 28, 2019. Photo by Gene Blevins/Contributing Photographer.

The “Gettyfire” has effected over 10,000 structures (both residential and commercial) in the Mandatory Evacuation Zone. Eight homes have been destroyed and others damaged. The Getty Museum has been closed to the public today and will be closed tomorrow (Tuesday) while it being used by fire fighters as a lookout.

MANDATORY EVACUATION: The official Evacuation Map indicates Mandatory Evacuation Zones in RED. You can search for an address in the upper right corner of the map.

“The southbound 405 Freeway was completely shut down between the 101 Freeway and Sunset Boulevard. Drivers were advised to completely avoid the freeway if possible. The northbound lanes were open. Part of the reason that the incident commanders are shutting down the southbound freeway…is because of the potential of bringing in the large fixed-wing aircraft that also will drop that retardant. We don’t that to spread over to people’s vehicles as they’re driving, The Getty Center itself was not threatened at this time, Scott said. However, both the Getty Center and the Getty Villa would be closed Monday.”
Note, The LA Times has dropped its pay wall and is providing information on the fire to everyone free of charge.

The Printing Workshop as a Laboratory of Knowledge

Johannisberger stop-cylinder press from 1924, restored in the 1980s and still working at the Lettertypen in Berlin

In case you could not attend the last conference of the Association of European Printing Museums (AEPM) at the Nationaal Museum van de Speelkaart, Turnhout, Belgium, 23-26 May 2019, they recently posted the talk given by Katharina Walter and Ulrike Koloska (Berlin, Germany): Safeguarding Intangible Heritage: Passing on Printing Techniques to Future Generations.

Here is the link:

The aim of the AEPM is to encourage the sharing of knowledge, experience, initiatives, and resources in all fields of the graphic arts as they have been practised from the time of Gutenberg until the present day. Originally founded as an association of European printing museums, the AEPM has gradually enlarged its remit to include a broad range of organisations and individuals interested in printing heritage, both in Europe and beyond. Membership is open to all print-related museums, heritage workshops and collectors actively involved in preserving the heritage of the printing industry.

Don’t forget to use their “Museum finder for printing and related museums in Europe and worldwide”.

Typographic (J. Theobaldy), 70 x 100 cm, Simultan – Kunststücke, 1975

Cultures of the Book: Science, Technology, and the Spread of Knowledge

The website and program is now available for the upcoming conference “Cultures of the Book: Science, Technology and the Spread of Knowledge,” Wednesday-Thursday, November 6-7, 2019 at University of Chieti-Pescara (Map).

This conference is subsidized and so, registration is free (opening soon). Here is the preliminary program for the two days:

The focus is broad but there is a nice attempt to include Eastern European and Arabic material along with the usual. “This conference will be of interest to historians of the book, printing and print culture, scientists and technologists who are interested in the book, bibliographers, librarians, conservationists, bibliophiles and book collectors and practitioners including printers, binders and type designers. It is not looking at books from aesthetic or literary perspectives but how science and technology have been deployed in book production and how the book itself has been a vehicle for the promotion of science and technology. We are covering all periods, regions and cultures and interpreting the ‘book’ widely to include clay tablets, codices, printed texts and electronic media. Both the physicality and culture of the book are explored. The conference is not only looking at the word, but images as well, including woodcuts, engravings, photographs and digital images.”

Subjects include: Science, technology and the making of the book, before and after the printing revolution, for example, writing instruments, substrates, ink, punches, presses, type, bindings; The relationship of technology to the appearance of letter forms and images; Science, technology and book conservation; and more.

This event is being organized by the joint Centre for Printing History and Culture at Birmingham City University and University of Birmingham, United Kingdom and the Department of Language, Literature and Modern Culture, University of Chieti-Pescara, Italy. [Pictures added by me]



NY Art Book Fair 2019

2019 Art Book Fair

Ariane Mayer, Poèmes à brûler [Poems to Burn] (Paris: Lairie un regard modern, no date).

The cigarette package is handmade with images from 1950s magazines. The individual cigarettes are rolled poems.

Till the Last Gasp, A Graphzine History 1975-2005. Three hundred zines, books, and posters from a largely undocumented movement of independent artists’ books and fanzine publications called Graphzines, which emerged in France beginning in 1975.

Sable Elyse Smith and Cal Siegel, In that Empire (New York: Pacific City, 2019)

… In that Empire is a conversation, an experimental cartography bound by each initial decision. Jorge Luis Borges’ story “On Exactitude in Science” frames the encounter: each “L” and “R” within the text creates a list of sixty-one positions. Using these directionals, the artists took sixty-one photos in West Newbury, Massachusetts and Harlem, New York, respectively. The reader is invited to access the book through multiple entry points, from front to back, in any order. No matter the beginning, a turn of the page becomes an act of continuing the conversation of experimental cartography established in the making of this book.

A Single Drop of Ink for a Mirror

George Eliot (the pen name of Mary Ann Evans), Adam Bede (Chapter 2, page 1 of 7):

With a single drop of ink for a mirror, the Egyptian sorcerer undertakes to reveal to any chance comer far-reaching visions of the past. This is what I undertake to do for you, reader. With this drop of ink at the end of my pen, I will show you the roomy workshop of Mr. Jonathan Burge, carpenter and builder, in the village of Hayslope, as it appeared on the eighteenth of June, in the year of our Lord 1799.

This interdisciplinary conference will focus on intersections between literary and visual art in the 19th century. A group of 21 literary scholars and art historians will present new work on the often neglected links between text and image in the long nineteenth century, from Blake to early- twentieth century photography. A small exhibition in the Princeton Art Museum will accompany the conference.

Friday, 4 October 2019
9:00 Welcome: Deborah Nord and Rebecca Rainof
9:15 Plenary Panel 1
Tim Barringer (Yale University), “Livingstone and the Lion: Image and Text in Victorian African Exploration Literature”
Ruth Yeazell (Yale University), “Words for Vermeer”
Chair: Anna Arabindan-Kesson (Princeton University)
10:30 Break
11:00 Illustrations, Prints, and Prophecies
Rosalind Parry (Princeton University), “Clare Leighton’s British Pastoral”
Joseph Viscomi (University of North Carolina), “Authenticating Blake: Life-time Impressions, Posthumous Prints, and Forgeries; or, Printing Blake: William, Catherine, and all the others”
Robyn Warhol (Ohio State University), “Reading Victorian Novel Illustrations in the Serial Moment”
Chair: Meredith Martin (Princeton University)
12:30 Lunch Break
1:45 Visit to Exhibition, Princeton Art Museum
Rosalind Parry and Ariel Kline, Curators
3:00 Childhood and Self
Aileen Farrar (Nova Southeastern University), “F.D. Bedford’s Childhood in a Drawer: The Illustrated ‘Lost’ Realities of Peter Pan”
Alexandra Neel (Loyola Marymount University) , “Jane Eyre’s Selfie”
Linda Shires (Yeshiva University), “Image><Text: Kipling’s Just So Stories”
Chair: Jeff Nunokawa (Princeton University)
4:30 Break
4:45 Keynote Address
Caroline Arscott (The Courtauld Institute of Art), “Picture Posies: Illustration and the Idyllic Mode, 1860-1875”
Introduction: Bridget Alsdorf (Princeton University)
6:30-8:30 Reception (Chancellor Green Rotunda)

Saturday, October 5
9:00 The PRB: A Family Portrait
Jeremy Melius (Tufts University), “Ruskin Undone”
Natalie Prizel (Princeton University), “Pre-Raphaelite in Black”
Jason Rosenfeld (Marymount Manhattan College): “Family Man: John Everett Millais’s Illustrations of Paternal Affection in the 1860s”
Chair: Anne McCauley (Princeton University)
10:30 Break
10:45 The Condition of England at Home and Abroad
Emily Madsen (University of Alaska, Anchorage), “Ghost in the Palimpsest: Missionary Revision”
David Pike (American University): “Nineteenth-Century Slum Imaginaries Then and Now”
Rebecca Rainof (Princeton University), “Van Gogh and the Victorians”
Chair: Natalie Prizel (Princeton University)
12:15 Lunch Break
1:30 Kate Flint (University of Southern California), “Snails, Slugs, and Scale”
Introduction: Deborah Nord
2:30 Picturing Modernism
Sophia Andres (University of Texas), “Virginia Woolf’s Pre-Raphaelite Incongruities in Orlando”
Maria DiBattista (Princeton University), “Taken from Life: The Modernist Portraits of E. O. Hoppé”
Ariel Kline (Princeton University), “The Minotaur”
Chair: Rebecca Rainof
3:45 Break
4:00 Plenary Panel 2
Elizabeth Helsinger (University of Chicago), “Ekphrastic Questions: Keats, Rossetti, and Field”
Rachel Teukolsky (Vanderbilt University), “Ruskin’s Media: The Cathedral and the Machine”
Chair: Rachael DeLue (Princeton University)
5:15 Summing Up: Jonah Siegel (Rutgers University)

Image credit: William Blake, “Eternally I labour on.” William Blake Collection (GC115); Graphic Arts Collection, Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

A Day of Printing Arts

Tag der druck kunst, the first national Day of Printing Arts held last March in Germany was a tremendous success and a call has gone out for a European Day of Printing Arts, to be held March 15, 2020. Initiated by the Berlin-based “Bundesverband Bildender Künstler” (the German Artists Association) all graphic artists, along with as museums, galleries and art institutes are being called to participate. The date was selected to celebrate the anniversary of the recognition of printing techniques as intangible heritage by the German Council of Unesco.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if members of the printing community in the United States were to join our colleagues and hold an international day of printing arts? APHA? Grolier? STA? Ladies of Letterpress? CBAA? Guild of Bookworkers? APA?


The Program in Latin American Studies (PLAS) is once again hosting members of the academic and artistic communities of Puerto Rico as visitors at Princeton University in summer 2019. The program continues to provide relief to scholars, students, and artists affected by the catastrophic aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 by allowing them to continue their work at Princeton on a temporary basis.

The VISAPUR program provides a range of support including a stipend to cover living expenses, office space, access to libraries and other scholarly material, and an opportunity to engage with colleagues at Princeton.

Endorsed by the Princeton Task Force on Puerto Rico, PLAS manages the program with co-sponsorship from the Office of the Provost. Additional support has been provided by, the Firestone Library, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Office of the Dean of the Faculty, Office of the Dean of the College, Graduate School, Office of the Registrar, and Housing and Real Estate Services. Special thanks to professor emeritus Arcadio Díaz Quiñones, former PLAS director and professor of Spanish and Portuguese, for his leadership and commitment to the project.

See pictures from last year’s program also:

Among the many treasures pulled to show our visitors was this new acquisition: Luis Lloréns Torres (1876-1944), Valle de Collores; grabados por Consuelo Gotay (Puerto Rico: Gotay, 1991). “Trabajaron en la tipografía, la impresión y la encuadernación, Consuelo Gotay, Rafael Orejuela, and Víctor Rodríguez Gotay.” Copy 44 of 100. Inscribed to Arcadio Díaz Quiñones from the artist. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process